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5G and SMEs: the keys to digital transformation at ITU Telecom World in Budapest

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5G and SMEs: the keys to digital transformation at ITU Telecom World in Budapest
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ITU Telecom World 2019 brings governments, industry and entrepreneurs together in Budapest, Hungary. This year's topic is the importance of global collaboration in the telecom world, or "Innovating together: connectivity that matters".

This event is organised by the United Nations and aims to promote an inclusive digital industry for all countries, especially developing nations. “At stake is the chance to transform and improve the lives of millions across the globe in support of the [United Nations] Sustainable Development Goals and closing the digital divide,” said ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao.

There is no doubt: Innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G and the Internet of Things, can help us achieve the sustainable development goals and improve the lives of all
Antonio Guterres
Secretary-general of the United Nations

In this edition, the main highlight is 5G as a new technology that can help the world move forward in the process of digitalisation.

“There is no doubt, innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G and the Internet of Things, can help us achieve the sustainable development goals and improve the lives of all,” UN secretary-general António Guterres said via video message during the opening ceremony.

Chinese telecom company Huawei has big ambitions around 5G, but is currently embroiled in several controversies over its security policies and has been accused of espionage by the US government. Google has cut ties with the Chinese giant, leaving Huawei without access to Android updates and apps such as Gmail and Play Store.

Euronews spoke to Radoslaw Kedzia, Huawei's vice president for Central Europe and Nordic Countries, who claimed accusations against the company are "groundless and discriminatory".

"The pressure is more political than technical. Nobody put forward evidence, I think we are victims of our success," he said.

SMEs: a positive impact on the digital transformation

Smaller technology companies also play a key role at the summit, with more than 150 SMEs from 40 countries participating in this year's event. “SMEs are on the frontline of today’s digital transformation. Their positive impact on innovation and job creation is unmatched,” said Zhao.

These companies are applying new technologies to innovative and creative purposes. The SEMSE application, created by a group of Hungarian musicians, designers, and programmers, is one exapmple. It translates micro-volt currents from the brain into pulses.

"It's a game inspired by science fiction; we ride a spaceship, concentrate and relax. It can be used in education. Children can learn to concentrate and meditate," said Samu Csernak, one of SEMSE's co-founders.

One focus at ITU is privacy, increasingly a concern for customers. On this issue, Zhao said: "This is a problem that our industries, our administrations, our regulators, public authorities, must address together to ensure that we provide our end users with the assurance that their privacy will be protected."